Nov 2, 2013

5 myths about Star Wars and the actual truth behind them

wampa from Empire Strikes Back
Excuse me, do you have any gum?

5 myths about the Star Wars movies

A film franchise with such a long history as Star Wars is sure to have acquired a few myths and urban legends about the development and production of the films. Here's 5 myths that are now forever debunked!

Myth: George Lucas actually directed Return of the Jedi instead of Richard Marquand

The reality is that Marquand directed Jedi. Which is not to say it was a smooth process. It was speculated that due to many of the technical elements of product Marquand was out of his depth and this caused several issues.

It has even been whispered that Lucas asked the Director's Guild of America to get himself a directing credit for Jedi. This seems fanciful however as Lucas had a famous falling out with that group! In reality, Marquand was the director of the film and was clearly very crucial to some very successful elements of it!

Myth - George Lucas secretly filmed a horror film Blue Harvest but never released it

Blue Harvest was the working / filming title of Return of the Jedi. It was so named as to try and put off of the now fervent fans who might other wise have visited the film sets and let some secrets out of the bag. The film production was heavily into the joke and lots of caps and t-shirts were made to put people off.

blue harvest logo
The 'official' logo, note the Star Wars font!
While it was rumoured that Lucas wanted to actually make a horror film with the Blue Harvest name, no filming ever took place. The name has since become the stuff of legend - so much so that the Family Guy Stars Wars spoof was named for it.

Myth - Splinter of the Mind's Eye was the scripted sequel to A New Hope

The book ‘Splinter of the Mind’s Eye’ was commissioned by Lucas as a potential sequel to Star Wars. The myth is that the novel was written based off a script written by George Lucas. There was no written script at all -  Alan Dean Foster was writing the novelization of Star Wars and also a second book.

He was as simply instructed by Lucas to write the book based off some ideas and film treatments that George threw at him.

Lucas could then turn it into a film script down the line, if he so chose. The reality is that when Star Wars 'went global' Lucas changed gears and the sequel script was first drafted by Leigh Bracket, which after her death from cancer, Lucas refined further with help from Lawrence Kasdan. 

Interesting side note - the novel was interesting in that Luke cuts off Vader's arm with a saber in the climax, an action which became common theme in the Star Wars movies.

Myth - The Wampa was created to allow for Luke's rearranged face after a car accident

Mark Hamill was injured prior to the filming of The Empire Strikes Back. This is fact. The myth is that due to his face being rearranged, Lucas had to re-write the Hoth events to include the Wampa attacking Luke to account for his injury. The truth is that no accommodations were made for Hamill’s face.

He did apparently get a black eye when filming the famous 'Dianoga' attack in the Trash Compactor' scene from A New Hope which meant he was filmed from one side only for the rest shooting that scene.

Myth - Lucas had 12 films all mapped out before the first Star Wars was released

handwritten plan for star wars episodes
That’s the legend but the mythology of it has grown over the years. The nutshell is that Lucas wrote a great deal of material when he was developing his little sci-fi adventure. Based around a so called “Journal of Whills”, Lucas script eventually was cut up and Star Wars as we know it was filmed.

It was not until Empire Strikes Back came out that the term Episode 5 was mentioned officially. 

Lucas’s grand vision was actually pieced together over several years in very broad strokes. The 12 or 9 films as most people know of were never fully scripted but were largely imaginings of Lucas that were eventually firmly realized well after 1977.  The story about the novel, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye effectively confirms this. Well this hand written vision by George totally proves it (to the right). Indeed he had A New Hope at 6. 

So there you have it, some Star Wars myths and the truth behind them. It's amazing how much history Star Wars really has!

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